While there are notable exceptions, its origins lie primarily in the Southern United States.The influence and popularity of the style waned in the 1960s, but during the late 1970s and early 1980s, rockabilly enjoyed a major revival of popularity that has endured to the present, often within a rockabilly subculture. If you live in California you’ve most likely witnessed the rockabilly subculture in action, though at the time, you may have thought someone was headed to a retro costume party.Sometimes they get combined and fused to points unrecognizable and to those who like their music and subcultures with checklists in little boxes this can be confounding. THE LATINO INFLUENCE Both rockabilly and psychobilly are international.
You may notice a subtext of horror and goth moving through much of the culture and some people can look a bit cartoonish and personally I think quiet entertaining, which makes sense when you consider many in the scene are artists. They keep it straight (some say pure) with songs like “A**hole in the Express Lane”. It is often played with an upright double bass instead of the electric bass more common in modern rock music.
As for the music, there are a lot of songs about death, but in a fun way (i.e. ” or The Meteors‘ “Slow Down You Grave Robbing Bastard”). It’s Halloween every weekend for those who enjoy “wrecking” the pit (sort of a mix between moshing and fighting). Psychobilly gained underground popularity in Europe beginning in the early 1980s, but remained largely unknown in the United States until the late 1990s.
Who can forget the big Psychobilly Carnival in Curticuba, Brazil every year? Latinos on the west coast are a young, powerful and loyal bunch (just ask Morrissey).
When I interviewed Nick 13, lead singer of Tiger Army a few years back at the Warped Tour, he point blank stated that young Latinos’ loyalty to Morrissey and Tiger Army were key to their decision to lay down some Spanish tracks on their CD.
Way down south, Chile has a big psychobilly scene with the band Voodoo Zombie headlining big shows. Even in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean you’ll find a psychobilly scene with bands like the Los Hell Gamblers. If you ever visit Buenos Aires hit up the bar Mundo Bizarro and hear the band Los Primitivos. In places like Bogota, Colombia where classic rock, punk and metal are kings there is an emerging psychobilly scene. helping to keep things alive at numerous venues in Brooklyn and at places like Otto’s Shrunken Head in downtown Manhattan.
When I visited Santiago and Valparaiso in 2010 I saw kids wearing Tiger Army and Demented Are Go band t-shirts and sporting wedge cuts. LA-based Calavera who helped establish the scene in both Mexico and the U. Just next door in Montevideo, Uruguay is a hell of a rollicking band called Rudos Wild that plays a genre of music sometimes called punkabilly, a sound pioneered in the U. In nearby Medellin, a band called Dorados Rockabilly Trio is starting to make headway and turning the locals on to the joys of rockabilly. While you’ll find an odd smattering of Latinos on the scene in NYC, the Midwest and Texas, if you head West where the scene is much more prevalent, I think you’ll notice that without Latinos in rockabilly and psychobilly, there essentially would be no scenes.Perhaps not surprisingly, psychobilly follows a similar geographical pattern and is massive in places like England, Germany and the Netherlands.In Latin America, both scenes are big, but in pockets. It’s fledgling on the East Coast in NYC with promoters like Rebel Angel and Amylulita (a Latina) and psychobilly bands like the The Memphis Morticians and rockabilly bands like Susquehanna Industrial Tool & Die Co.Its origins are up for fierce debate but most people agree psychobilly began in the 1980s in Europe and landed stateside sometime later.Psychobilly girls may dress a little bolder and dare I say rougher around the edges with possibly more tattoos and a more contemporary style of dress that can incorporate things like S&M, goth or horror.There are some notable exceptions to this cartoon imagery and mortal fixation. So that’s the quick version for all of you not in the know, but trust me when I say (bracing for a deluge of emails here) there is MUCH more to the rockabilly and psychobilly subcultures.